Qatar’s plan to set up bio-metric, visa centre in Kathmandu opposed

Kathmandu, December 6

Though the government of Qatar has been planning to set up a visa and bio-metric health centre in Kathmandu, the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security (MoLESS) is against this initiative of the Qatari government.

Citing that the opening of a visa and bio-metric health centre will promote syndicate in the labour market, it is learnt that the government has opposed this plan of the Qatari government. Amid the government’s plan to review the labour pact with Qatar and implement the free visa, free ticket provision, the MoLESS is against this Qatari move to prevent any activities that promote syndicate in the labour market.

“The Qatari government is unilaterally attempting to establish a visa and bio-metric health centre, which is unacceptable to us,” informed a highly-placed source at MoLESS, adding that the necessity and implications of such centres should be discussed under the broader plan to review the Nepal-Qatar bilateral labour relationship.

Earlier in November, the Qatar government had decided to open a visa and bio-metric centre in Kathmandu citing it would facilitate Qatar-bound Nepali migrant workers. Moreover, the Qatari government had assigned the responsibility to set up the bio-metric centre in Kathmandu to Singapore-based company called Biomet Smart Identity Solutions and assigned it the

responsibility to provide visa related services to Nepali migrant workers going to Qatar.

Establishing a visa and bio-metric health centre in Kathmandu was backed by Qatari government’s plan to facilitate Qatar-bound Nepali migrants in visa processing and health check-up. The Qatar government had also claimed the opening of the bio-metric health centre in Kathmandu will put an end to the practice of migrant workers having to conduct health check-up in Kathmandu as well as in Qatar.

“Any initiative should keep workers at the centre and has to be discussed under the broader framework of bilateral labour pact,” added the MoLESS official. As per him, the necessity and jurisdiction of visa and bio-metric health centre will be discussed at a technical committee meeting between the two countries. The technical committee meeting of the two nations to review the Nepal-Qatar labour pact is expected to sit in the near future.

The government earlier had closed down Malaysian companies VLN, Mygram and One Stop Centre (OSC), which had been taking extra charges from migrant workers seeking jobs in Malaysia and inked a fresh labour pact with the South-East Asian nation ensuring migrant workers’ safety and security.